Pink cheese sends Rocky gourmands a bit nuts
This was supposed to be a story about Bastille Day cheese platters, but L'Affine au Champagne Rose just arrived.
Those Rockhampton gourmands "in the know” have caught whiff of the new arrival and are storming the doors of Archer Cottage instead.
The soft, wash rind Burgundy cheese has been known to sell out by ten o'clock in the morning.
"You snooze or you lose,” said proprietor John Evans.
One local lady is due to give birth "right now”, but she has come in to stock up on her favourite epicurean find.
"Thing is, if I leave this in the house and go into labour, there won't be any left when I get home with the baby,” she said.
"I've already told my husband I'm eating it all today.”
The Rockhampton Fine Foods opened a retail arm in 2000 which closed after three years.
Then, four years ago, it took a different tack in organising regular platter deals, open days and tasting events.
(Next week's raclette dinner has already sold out.)
With hundreds of locals subscribed to the Archer Cottage Cheese Lovers mailing list, Mr Evans and his staff have the perfect excuse to sample gourmet goods from around Australia and the world.
He just returned from a trip between Adelaide and South Australia's McLaren Vale wine region.
He assures me this weekend's Bastille Day banquet can be accompanied equally well by well a French red or a glass of Irish whisky (sacre bleu!)
For my money, the whisky-infused Amber Mist was the ne plus ultra of samples on offer.
Dozens of customers have already picked up their custom platters which include a double-cream dauphin, a washed rind epoisse, a sheep milk roquefort, the iconic comte, and of course "une” baguette.
Mr Evans has lived in Rockhampton for thirty years now.
"Twenty more and I can call myself a local,” he said.
His business is the perfect opportunity to meet people and make friends... maybe even score himself a few party invites.
Susan Hagan, a "domestic engineer” from Lakes Creek has come in for her Champagne Rose, ahead of a combined birthday party for her husband who turned 70 last month, and a family friend from Adelaide.
She leaves with pastries, pepperberry pearls and the gourmet makings of some homemade pizzas.
Rockhampton Fine Food will open Saturday from 9am until the last of the Bastille Day platters is sold.